Developer still keen on Arndale revamp

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One of the companies behind an ambitious £70 million scheme to extend and dramatically revamp the Arndale Centre has said reaffirmed its commitment to the town.

Legal and General Property said there is “strong interest” in the extension plan and insists the shopping centre is in rude health, despite the fact it looks set to lose two national retailers which are in prominent positions at the Arndale.

Camera specialists Jessops closed its Eastbourne store within days of the company’s abrupt collapse into administration.

HMV also went into administration last week and although restructuring giant Hilco has thrown the business a lifeline, the Eastbourne branch could still be one of the 230 shops earmarked for closure.

Simon Russian, head of retail development at Legal & General Property, said, “In the latter part of 2012, we saw a significant increase in the number of lettings in the Arndale Centre, plus a considerable number of stores up-sizing.

“Despite the disappointing news about Jessops and HMW, we should remember this is a nationwide issue and that towns up and down the country will be affected by the closures.

“Ahead of our expansion plans, we remain focused on ensuring the Arndale Centre continues to meet the needs of the modern shopper and retailer.

“Interest in the extension is very strong, which reflects the attractiveness of the Arndale Centre and Eastbourne more generally.”

In September £70 million scheme moved one step closer after plans were approved, in principle, by the Borough Council.

The plans were submitted by owners Performance Retail Limited Partnership, a joint venture between Legal & General Property and Strathclyde Pension Fund. The application, includes the demolition of buildings west of the centre along Terminus Road, the construction of up to 22 new shops and additional car parking.